Tag Archives: Laws

Understand your Rights with Copyright Infringement


Understand your Rights with Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement  is when a person reproduce, publically display and distribute someone else work without permission from the owner.  Bottom line, when you take something that doesn’t belong to you simply put, it’s stealing! That’s how you know that you’ve broken the copyright law.   Most people don’t realize that they are breaking the law everyday just by downloading & uploading music, movies, sharing photos, video clips, copying, ripping and burning CD’s & DVD’s.   Some have questioned whether it’s considered copyright infringement if not done for a profit.   


Think you’re saving money? Think again, copyright Infringement cost a whole lot more. (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

How do you know when you’re breaking the law?

The copyright infringement law is so complex, that it can make it hard not to infringe on some people’s legal rights. Being new to blogging or simply a part of the social networking community makes it difficult for the average person to realize that they’re breaking the law because it seems everyone’s online doing it. Here are a few tips to avoid copyright infringement on social media.

If you don’t know what the law entails before you break it, then you will quickly learn it once they slap that lawsuit on you. Take casual blogger Roni Loren, she tells her story on her blog site about being new to blogging and being sued for copyright infringement.  She had a photo on her page that was not attributed and according to Loren, she didn’t know the rules and did what most people she saw do.  She assumed that under the Fair Use standard, that it was OK not attribute.  She didn’t know and unfortunately learned the hard way.

photo (6)

Breaking the law comes with a price

photo (5)

Photos by D. Garvin (c) 2013

According to eonline, the children of the late musician David Pryor recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Kanye West for millions, after sampling their father’s song (Gold Digger) without getting consent.  Pryor passed in 2006, but his children Trena and Lorenzo ascertained that their father’s work has been sampled numerous times and by various artists.  However, they made it clear to all record companies involved that if they don’t stop exploiting their dad’s song (BusStop) without requesting permission, will be next in line for a lawsuit.


Former Film Student Pattie Clark was director on a class film that was to be shot for their final project, but to her surprise several months down the line, found out that part of their story had been copied, re-shot, and uploaded to YouTube, with the exact same storyline and Title.  Because the script was never copyrighted and protected, all rights were lost.  “Now that’s a lesson well learned on copyrighting. Wish I knew to do it sooner.”  Chuckling, Clark says “Take it from me, even if you’re still in school protect your work and get it copyrighted.” “Don’t let all of your hard work get snatch right out from under you.”

According to PCMag, in August 2012, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that linking & embedding video is not considered copyright infringement. Posner explains in great length how linking and embedding works and they that watch the videos are not violating copyright infringement law, nor are they who are embedding & linking violating the law.  However, they who are uploading copyright infringing videos are in violation.

photo (7)

Embedding & Linking is no longer considered copyright infringement (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin







The Freedom of Information Act’s “FOIA” latest ruling stirs up controversy

The Freedom of Information Act’s “FOIA” latest ruling stirs controversy

 FOIA”  law allows US citizens the right to access information from federal agencies.

According to the Los Angeles Times, US citizens have encountered a setback in the ruling of the Freedom of Information Act.  The Virginia ruling was unanimous, in that you must be a resident of the state that you are requesting public information in.  If you are non-resident of that state, then you have no access to the public records and this ruling was adopted by a few other states; what a blow to the rights of citizens of the United States, however the good news is that although those states are not required to give access to public records, the can however choose to do so at their own discretion

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) “provides for the disclosure of information held by administrative agencies to the public.”  “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government, it’s often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. “

Search for request, Appeals and records can be found online, courthouse, the library of law and more. (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

Anyone can use the Freedom of Information Act to request information from government agencies, including foreign nationals.  No one group has more rights over the other when it comes to requesting public information under FOIA.  However the journalists, bloggers or anyone involved with news media does have a few extra perks, such as waiving or discount of some fees and perhaps even speeding up the process, but don’t bank on that completely, it may not always be the case.  But, informing the agency of who you are and letting them know that you may publish some of the information can possibly be a motivation to the FOIA officer to make your process a little easier, faster and can possibly save you some of the required fees.


Your local City Hall is a good place to start your search for public city records.
(c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin


Andre Washington of Atlanta Georgia gave an account of his own personal experience with public records search.  While driving home late one night on the highway, he was trailed by a police officer and was signaled to exit the highway.  Once exited, they officer walks up to his car to tell him that he were stopped because his tail light was out.  “I figure, it was an easy mistake, he can give me a warning and let me go.”  Instead, it became very intense, the officer insisted I get out, I replied, what’s the problem officer?  According to Washington, the officer was irate and replied, you don’t get to ask me questions I’m asking the questions right now!  He began searching the car, while holding him against the car.  Washington say’s “the more questions I asked the more aggressive he became.”  I recognized that kind of aggression w/a badge, so I did what he asked.”

After holding me up for 20 minutes I received a ticket for the light, says Washington.  I was angry about the unnecessary treatment and was advised to research the officer’s background.  I found out that the officer had the same complaints by several African Americans, going back seven years about his aggressive behavior and racial comments.  Washington challenged the ticket after finding out the information and won.  So, public records can serve it purposes for many reasons.  Doing an online search is an easy and convenient place to start your search. There’s also a site called black book online, it’s a directory that links you to a host of public records search sites.


Online search is another source for Public Records Search (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

These sites share limited information for free, and for a price you can access more comprehensive information.  You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just by gaining access to public records including federal, state, county and local resources.   Public search can be done to research companies, employee verification, research public officials, and to protect ourselves against unlawful government activities.  It can also be a benefit for personal reasons, to gain information that will even help in negotiating business, creating proposals, background checks on employees and even aid in creating lists for sales leads.



Release Forms, Photos & Videos for Any Occasion: Know When to Protect Yourself

Everyone Loves Taking Photos & Videos for Just About Any Occasion:  How Do You Know When You’ve Crossed the Line of Hobby to Offender of the Law

Know How to Protect Yourself

In today’s world, people will whip out a camera, cellphone and even the tablet to capture the moment on video and photograph for just about any reason.  Whether it’s for work as a photographer, filmmaker, Journalism, or for just plain ole fun, once it’s upload to YouTube and/or your social networking page and any other public site; shooter beware!  It’s not like the times of old when things were much simpler and internet was not hugely popular.  Although there were always laws in place to protect people’s privacy or legal rights to prevent unlawful display of a person’s image in the professional world, those of you who do it for fun today take heed, the same rules may apply to you once you decide to cross the line of fun and into the realm of use for commercial and profit.

In film production, to protect yourself legally you should began researching and preparing all of the necessary waiver/release forms to collect any signature connected to your production.  Particularly for each identifiable actor and/or product such as logos and photos that you plan to have publicized that belongs to another.  There are a variety of release forms for a variety of situations such as location, property, talent, private events, interviews, underage children and more that involves commercial purposes.  If you’re a film student the rules still apply because you can also be sued for displaying work online, that’s why you should always protect yourself by getting release signed up front


Chris Donati Reviews a Release Form and Contract Before Signing. (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

For instance, former film student Anthony Barr explains his issues with an actor after shooting his student film.  According to Barr, after the short film was shot the actor was disappointed in the way he was edited in the film and thought that film was not good enough to be published online and that no one would take him seriously after seeing the finished product.

Barr explains all of the hard work that went into it and disagreed.  After having several back and forth conversations about it, Barr felt that it was good and ignored his request because everyone else was satisfied and he decided to upload it anyway.

When the actor/friend found out that the movie went up, he called the school to complain and insisted that it be taken down.  Barr stated, he never thought it was that serious until the media department explained that the actor was in the right, he never signed a release form.  Barr says “it’s my own fault, I learned the hard way to always get a release form signed no matter who it is, especially friends.”  I’ll never let my guards down again!

Grabs pen

Donati Grabs pen in agreement to sign contract

A release form is like a contract, which is a written agreement between two parties for the purpose of protecting yourself from any future lawsuits that may include, claiming invasion of privacy or perhaps for money or profit.   However, laws differ depending on the jurisdiction and the state you live in when it pertains to the use of an individual’s image.

signed release

The Release Form is Signed

Understanding the law and the business side of online marketing, will save you money, time and protect you from a whole lot of future legal woes down the line.





How Much Privacy Do You Really Have on Your Public Sites?

Are You Apart of the Social Networking Scene? Your Private Settings Are Not So Private Anymore

Companies are making social networking sites a first step to pre-screening before hiring.  They’re checking your conversation, photos and anything else that will give insight into your character.  Your personal Facebook Page is not so personal anymore; people are actually fired over Facebook Postings.

According to NBC 4 New York, Twitter was asked by a judge to surrender an Occupy Wall Street protestors tweets.  “We are disappointed in the judge’s decision and are considering our options,” a Twitter spokeswoman said Monday.”  “Twitter’s Terms of Service have long made it absolutely clear that its users own their content.”


Occupy Wall Street Protestors (c) 2013 Photo by Copyright Associated Press/NBC New York

Social media has become bigger than the federal government and more people are tracking you more often than you think.  So, If you put all of your information including posts, photos, videos, resumes and what have you on the World Wide Web, It’s there for the world’s picking and it will be your own fault.  Whether it’s on one of your many social networking sites or email, you should expect to be a potential victim of hacking, researched or investigated.  You can have a life changing experience simply by having your alone hacked.


Is your securtiy at risk? (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

 How can you protect yourselves and your personal information from being invaded from privacy and internet fraud?  What about when companies tell you to go online to apply for jobs? How safe are you with these companies? Craigslist has become another popular site for job searches, but you never know what you may get when not dealing with a company’s direct website.  Extra precautions should always be taken when dealing with a third party.

That’s exactly what happened to Sonia Roe, a customer service Rep in the Atlanta area.   While searching for work on Craigslist, she applied for a position using her home address and email not thinking much of it because she linked to the company’s site and it all looked legitimate.  However, a Few weeks later she received a $1600 money order, in which case she assumed it was from another organization who she expected to receive support from for her education.

Roe says, “So, I deposited the money order, and all of a sudden my account was in the negative.”  After reporting to the fraud department, she discovers that her personal information had been collected after applying for the online position.  “Luckily I called the fraud department because they traced the numbers on the money order right back to the man who sent it.”  “Apparently he has had a history of fraudulent money orders”.  There are actually hacking classes, software and an operating system created, which makes it so much easier for hackers today.  An Operating System called Kali Linux built into computers used to do a penetration testing is given away for free hoping that the big companies will bite and take the hacking classes offered by them, which is said to be a $4000 class for these companies.

Information is being hacked every six seconds and you must learn ways to protect yourself.  Here is a link that can give you a few tips to protect yourself.  Other privacy issue the citizens of the United States have to be concerned with today is the idea of the government’s National Security Agency (NSA) tracking and collecting our phone calls, monitoring the numbers we call and the duration of the call.  However, the president suggests that they’re not monitoring the content of the call, but the goal is to gather and enter the information into a government database allowing it to sit unless otherwise needed for criminal investigation.

This act is turning talks towards the idea of revisiting the 4th amendment, which is the part of the bill that guards against unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant, since that law was put in place before internet and social media existed.  The NSA and FBI are tapping directly into servers of web companies.